What Davis Means for Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation
Steve R. Johnson
Florida State University - College of Law
May 30, 2009
State Tax Notes, Vol. 48, p. 877, 2008
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-14
When the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Department of Revenue v. Davis, the Court addressed the so called home state exemption. Resolving a conflict between state courts, a significantly divided Supreme Court held that the negative or dormant Commerce Clause does not prohibit home state exemptions. Davis can be read at any or all of three levels: economic, constitutional, and interpretational.
There will be no dearth of commentary on the economic and constitutional dimensions of Davis. Thus, this article is principally concerned with the interpretational dimension.
In brief, the striking interpretational aspect of Davis is its heavy reliance on the fact that the challenged practice is widespread and of long standing. Advocates should consider Davis when external context arguments plausibly inhere in future tax cases.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: Commerce Clause, constitutional interpretation, statutory interpretation, state tax exemptions
JEL Classification: E62, H20, H71, K34
Date posted: May 30, 2009 ; Last revised: August 1, 2009
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